There are more than 43,000 youth in juvenile justice facilities right now. As the country grapples with the global COVID-19 pandemic, youth in the justice system should not be left behind in public health efforts.
These youth cannot engage in social distancing. Moreover, facilities faced with staffing and volunteer shortages may resort to solitary confinement as a default housing strategy for youth. Almost all facilities are eliminating visits between young people and their families, which is the exact type of support that youth need during uncertain times. Now is the time to act to keep these youth safe.
We are compiling and updating a list of statements from leading organizations on the need to (1) release as many youth as possible from facilities and (2) limit the use of isolation, and (3) ensure that youth have access to engaging programming, supportive staff, and contact with families via video or phone.
Statements and Recommendations
Center for Children’s Law and Policy: Statement on Urgent Action Need for Youth Justice Professionals in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Statement from Dr. Craig Haney on Impact of Incarcerating Youth During COVID-19
Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform – COVID19 Risks to Incarcerated and Detained Youth
Justice Roundtable: Federal Recommendations for Protecting Incarcerated Youth and Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic
National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN): Resources Compiled Regarding COVID-19 and Vulnerable Populations (log-in required)
Resources for Juvenile Defenders via the National Juvenile Defender Center (log-in required)
Resources from the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators